I’m sitting here at my computer, immersing myself in my Armenian story with the accompaniment of Armenian music. The music has triggered memories of long-ago experiences: background music at some unidentified event with my cousins near Boston; a wedding where a belly dancer gyrated to the music to entertain the guests, eliciting positive and negative oohs and aahs. “Look at her amazing moves!” “What will the minister think?” “How does she spin like that without tripping on her scarves and veils?” Don’t ask me whose wedding, because I can’t recall. But it was someone from our church because the minister in question was our minister; another time when friends from the Armenian Protestant Youth Fellowship were visiting because one or more of them were playing Armenian dance music at a local event. Weddings and other family events with Armenian music, the mostly women on the dance floor patiently demonstrating the steps. In my memories, men rarely were on the dance floor with us – but if you Google Armenian dance, part of what you will find is groups of men dancing. I need to learn more about the cultural forces at play.
And a more recent experience, visiting with one of the Armenian ladies from our church, when she put on music and as at those events past, demonstrated the steps – but too fast for me to follow before she moved on to a different pattern when the music changed. Her music was not Armenian specifically – but rather Middle Eastern. If there’s a difference, it was too subtle for me to identify. It was this haunting music at her home and the memories triggered that nudged me to purchase music of my own.
According to Wikipedia: “The Armenian dance (Armenian : Հայկական պար) heritage has been considered one of the oldest and most varied in its respective region. From the fifth to the third millennia B.C., in the higher regions of Armenia, the land of Ararat, there are rock paintings of scenes of country dancing. These dances were probably accompanied by certain kinds of songs or musical instruments.”
As I listen to the music and view the images in my brain, I feel like it’s all a part of me and I of it. Maybe there’s something to those multiple lives theories, and I was an Armenian dancer in a past life!